Abetment in Law
A person abets an offence, who abets either the commission of an offence, or the Commission of an act which would be an offence, if committed by a person capable by law of committing an offence with the same intention or knowledge as that of abettor.
(S. 108, P.P.C.)
Scope of Abetment
Abettor’ is defined in s. 108 of the Code to be a person who abets (i) either the commission of an offence, or (ii) the commission of an act which would be an offence, if committed by a person capable by law of committing an offence with the same intention or knowledge as that of the abettor. In this way, an abettor must be an instigator or a conspirator or any intentional helper. According to this definition, there should be either instigation or some conspiracy or intentionally aiding or illegal omission to ‘instigate’ means to urge or incite, foment which, in other words means a positive action on the part of the instigator, as unless some thoughts are modified or put into action, there cannot be instigation. It is essence of crime of abetment that the abettor should substantially assist the principal culprit towards commission of offence. Concurrence in the criminal acts of another without such participation therein as helps to affect the criminal act or purpose does no per se become culpable.
Proof of abetment
In order to convict a person of abetting the commission of a crime, it is not only necessary to prove that he has taken part in those steps of the transaction which are innocent, but in some way or other it is absolutely necessary to connect him with those steps of the transaction which are criminal. Whatever be the nature of crime, nobody can be put to rigours and agony of criminal grail on a mere statement of one of prosecution witnesses that a named person had come to his office in the company of others and had threatened him. There must be cogent evidence spelling out the ingredients of abetment as state above. A person cannot be summoned as an accused after challan is filed in the court of the charge of abetting simply as he is required by a P.W. (1996 P. Cr.L.J. 1673)
- Element of criminality must be spelt out before a person is convicted for abetment. (1995 P. Cr.L.J. 1424)
- The principle with regard to liability of abettor or helper in the commission of an offence is that such abettor or helper is liable for the commission of offence in the same manner as it was done by him alone. (PLD 1984 FSC 55)
ABETMENT AND COMMON INTENTION
Reference: Ss. 34, 109, 114, P.P.C.
The word ‘abet’ means to encourage, incite or set another to commit a crime it is always crime to aiding the commission of crime. If the offence of abetment is committed in furtherance of common intention each of the offender would responsible under the rule of vicarious liability.
- To constitute “abetment” of an offence intentional aid and active participation of the abettor must be established. Whether or not accused is guilty of abetment depends upon whether he intentionally aided the other accused in perpetration of the crime. (PLD 1959 Lah. 356)
The distinction lies in this, that under the former an offender can be convicted for the offence which he actually abets regardless of the ultimate results achieved, whereas under the latter all the persons accused of the offence are in the eye of law united in their intention in carrying out of the actual at committed in furtherance of their common intention. (PLD 1959 Lah. 950)
ABETMENT BY CONSPIRACY
Reference: S. 107, P.P.C.
Supreme Court of Pakistan on the matter
“Conspiracy” as a matter of fact consists in a combination and agreement by persons to do some illegal act or to affect a legal purpose by illegal means. In Corpus Juris Secundum (Vol. 15) “conspiracy” has been defined to mean, “a combination of two or more persons intentionally participating in the furtherance of a preconceived common design intentionally participating to constitute a “conspiracy”, one person cannot conspire with himself. Furthermore, there must be a preconceived plan and unity of design and purpose for the common design is of the sense of “conspiracy” is the fact of combination of agreement. The agreement may be express or implied, or in part express or in part implied. The “conspiracy” arises and the offence is committed as soon as the agreement is made: and the offence continues to be committed so long as the combination persists, that is until the conspiratorial agreement is terminated by completion of its performance or by abandonment or meant to execute the illegal conduct, not the execution of it. It is not enough that two or more persons pursued the same unlawful object at the time or in the same place, it is necessary to show a meeting of mind, a consensus to affect an unlawful purpose. It is not however necessary that each conspirator should have been in communication with every other. (PLD 1979 S.C. 53)
ABETMENT BY ILLEGAL OMISSION
Reference: S. 107, P.P.C.
Scope: The words “illegal omission” have reference to intention of “aiding the doing of a thing”.
- The presence of a person of authority at the place of occurrence which aids the commission of the offence without doing anything to prevent it will amount to abetment.
- Custodial rape by co-accused prosecutrix was forcibly taken to police station by accused. Accused keeping watch over husband of prosecutrix while she was being raped by co-accused and not doing anything and turning deaf ears towards cries of prosecutrix. Conviction of accused for abetting commission of rape upheld. (AIR 1995 S.C. 1965)
ABETMENT BY INSTIGATION
Scope: The word “instigate” literally means to goad, urge forward, provoke, incite or encourage to do an act. A person is said to instigate another when he actively suggests or stimulates him to the act by any means, or language, direct or in-direct whether it takes the form of express solicitation or of hints, insinuation or encouragement. To constitute instigation it is not necessary that express words should be used to indicate what should be done by the person to whom the directions are given.
To conclude, abettor is liable for the act abetted or act done or even if act abetted was not done. It is only material that a person who was abetted was capable of performing the act abetted or not.